Type: Trad, 4 pitches Fixed Hardware (3)
FA: Dave Dornan, Pete Lev, 1961. FFA: Pat Ament/Roger Briggs 196?
Page Views: 29,440 total · 133/month
Shared By: Nate Weitzel on Dec 31, 2000 with updates from Carl Schaefer
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is one of the mega-classics in Eldo. Start on the same ledge as for the Yellow Spur, but down to the south.

P1. Climb the 5.9 or 5.6 variation up a right dihedral to a big belay ledge.

P2. Awkward and tough 5.9 moves past a bulge lead to easier rock above. Look for the bolted belay up and right of a slanted ledge before the obvious dihedral which is the crux of the route.

P3. The routes technical crux. 5.11b dihedral with some difficult stemming and interesting finger locks. It can be protected well with small cams and nuts. There is some great exposure on this one.

P4. The routes mental crux. 5.11a overhanging crack through a big ceiling. This is done with very solid jams and jugs, as well as great pro. Just plug the cams and go! If this pitch doesn't get you pumped by the amazing climbing and exposure, you should be a BASE jumper or fighter pilot. This is truly a wonderful and tough climb.

After topping out, downclimb to the west face of a big block, just north of the summit block, to locate a bolted rappel station.


Bring a standard rack for Eldorado Canyon. The old pins that used to protect the dihedral crux are no longer there so bring some small Aliens and TCUs. Second and third pitches have bolted belays. Also, bring lots of hand-sized cams for the overhanging, crack pitch.
Pitches 1&2, 3&4 can be combined quite nicely. I've heard rumor that you can do the whole bloody thing in one pitch if you use a hanging belay in the groove just above the final overhang. Aug 23, 2001
One key piece of beta that might save yourself a lot of time and aggravation: set up your belay right after the roof on the final pitch. Otherwise the rope is almost guaranteed to get stuck in the crack and your 2nd will have to prusik. I've seen this happen myself and heard many similar tales of woe. Luckily I had the beta myself and didn't have to deal with the problem. Sep 19, 2001
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
This is good advice, however, the slot above the roof is very wide so you need to take some appropriate gear. Alternatively, run up to the end of the slot and set up a belay but have the leader clip their rope in high and work back to the end of the slot. This saves dragging along some very wide gear that is otherwise not needed. Sep 19, 2001
I climbed it on 9/23/01 and there was still one pin left at the crux of the third pitch. Sep 23, 2001
Joe Huggins
Grand Junction
Joe Huggins   Grand Junction
An alternative to belaying just above the roof is to place a stopper in the crack to the right of the stance to keep the rope out of the crack; works just fine. Oct 15, 2001
Chris "the Duece" Dawson & I watched some poor saps in front of us struggle for about an hour trying to free their snarled line from the jaws of the roof crack. At the time (May 2001) there was a fixed nut right at the lip of the roof that would align your rope perfectly to get snagged when clipped. When I led, I placed a big cam (#3 camalot I think) immediately above the roof on the easier terrain & then reached down & unclipped the fixed nut. I had no problem at all with pulling the rope. I'd highly recommend removing any pro at the lip before you finish the pitch. Placing pro to the right like Joe suggests is also an excellent idea. Feb 9, 2002
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
There is currently one fixed pin on the crux pitch and on 07/15/02 there was also a fixed nut just below the pin. The fixed nut mentioned in the comments above for the top of the final pitch is no longer there. The whole route protects well with singles of nuts, TCUs, and cams up to a #2 Camalot..... Jul 16, 2002
The fixed pin is still on the 3rd pitch, the nut is not. It's easy to back the pin up with a green alien. On the 4th pitch, there is some webbing jammed in the crack about midway, that's currently the only "fixed" gear.

I'll echo what everyone has said about the rope getting stuck in the crack easily. Thanks to the comments on this site, we delt with the rope travel before it became a problem. If you don't deal with it it will get stuck. Nov 11, 2002
There are three pieces of fixed gear on pitch 3: wires above and below the pin. Not sure why the pin is there, the crack takes great gear. May 7, 2003
This is a sick route, but after two years of wanting to do I think in my case I just made it out to be more than it really was. I guess I just wish the roof was another 15 ft long. However, I would settle for 5ft, it is that much fun! You can't beat the exposure. Hanging from the jug before the lip of the roof, getting a shake. Look between your legs. All you see is an awsome line. An overhanging Dihedrial, filled with all sorts of cool gear, then your belayer hanging off some bolts. Below them nothing but air for a real long way. My advice just go do the damn thing. Easier then the Edge! Woo Weee Oct 25, 2004
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
One of the best routes in Eldo.The difficulty comes from the dihedral pitch, not from the roof pitch. The difficulty being more [dependent] on temperature and humidity than on any other subjective factor. This is presuming that shorter climbers also have better-suited thin fingers. The final roof is not so hard for experienced "steep" climbers, but slab masters might find some trouble turning the lip. The gear on the top half is "as you would like it"- that is to say, if you have the endurance, you can get overhead gear wherever you like and it's solid. Lastly, I think that the "awkward bulge" on the second pitch is awkward enough to merit the 5.10 grade rather than 5.9. Place protection before just getting there to reduce leg-shake once there. I made the mistake of running it out into that position last time I got on it. Yuck. Aug 22, 2005
Climbed this yesterday for the first time and it was amazing. While sitting on the belay watching my partner make his way up the second dihedral I noticed a line to the left on the overhanging arete. I was wondering what the rating and name is of this pitch is, if different than Vertigo? Nov 11, 2005
Dane Casterson
Dane Casterson   Boulder
Fantastic route! On the dihedral pitch, there is a fixed cam down low, a fixed nut, a pin, and another fixed nut. The fixed pieces sew up the crux section very nicely. And on the roof section, there is a large, fixed chock that has been slung and a 0.5 Camalot at the lip. The 0.5 will definitely hold some falls! Awesome! May 31, 2007
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
As of 06/07, the slung chock (See Dane's comment) is still there. Fixed 0.5 is not. One pin left on the dihedral pitch. I suppose a person could run 1 and 2 together, if so inclined, but, however you do it, every pitch on this climb is simply spectacular! Jun 16, 2007
gloomis Loomis
Winston-Salem, NC
gloomis Loomis   Winston-Salem, NC
This is the first route which has let me down at Eldo. I found the dihedral pitch to be a short one-move-wonder with fixed pin & stopper for the move. The roof pitch is CHOSS. The last flake on the roof flexes alot plus it's a jug haul to another one-move-wonder. Don't understand the hype. Apr 21, 2008
max seigal
max seigal   boulder
Without a doubt this is one of the finest lines in Eldo. Every pitch is classic and there is an amazing variety of climbing throughout the four pitches. Absolutely fantastic. Jun 14, 2008
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
No fixed gear in the crux dihedral except the pin as of 3-12-10. Mar 12, 2010
Colorado Springs, CO
jmeizis   Colorado Springs, CO
This is a great climb. Almost onsighted the dihedral but fell trying to reach for what would have been basically a bomber jug. Cruised the second time. There is one pin in the dihedral which can be backed up with yellow and blue TCUs. Flailed on the roof pitch because of rope issues. Don't place gear at the lip or if you do, remove it after you get past it because your rope will trap it and your second will make .11a look like .12a, especially if it's snowing.... Apr 20, 2011
Brett Brotherton
Arvada, CO
Brett Brotherton   Arvada, CO
The webbing in the roof looked like it was around a fixed stopper (just the stopper no wire). That being said I decided to plug a cam next to it, since there was bomber gear to be found everywhere on the roof. Sep 10, 2011
Dane Casterson
Dane Casterson   Boulder
As I remember it, a #0.75 Camalot can be placed out left after turning the roof on p4. This piece holds the rope out of the crack nicely. Feb 25, 2012
Moritz B.  
Today it was way too windy on the fifth pitch for us. It was way too cold to be enjoyable. We bailed off the fourth pitch and left a nineteen g carabiner on the pin in the crux. Whoever gets it, have fun with it :-) May 5, 2013
Boulder, Colorado
Dr. VARMENT   Boulder, Colorado
The roof pitch is cake, as for the dihedral.... Aug 28, 2013
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
The piece placed out left is actually a 0.4.

Not sure where you could get in anything bigger, and this will make following the route more enjoyable for your second. Jun 16, 2014
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
There are currently two fixed nuts after the pin on the dihedral pitch. The upper nut will hold a fall! Sep 28, 2014
Dean Cool
Boulder, CO
Dean Cool   Boulder, CO
Only 1 fixed nut now, and it's pretty good, though you can back it up if you wish. Pin below the nut looks good, too. Oct 20, 2014
Jake Ramsey
Yosemite, CA
Jake Ramsey   Yosemite, CA
Such a fun climb. I recommend linking pitches 1 and 2, watch the rope drag though. Also when pulling over the lip, make sure to keep the hand jam next to the jug free of gear, otherwise it makes it a lot harder for shorter people. Mar 27, 2015
Gregger Man
Broomfield, CO
Gregger Man   Broomfield, CO
Very nice job, Gregger Man. Neptune Gear swap is coming up! Apr 5, 2015
Benjamin Pontecorvo
Seattle, WA
Benjamin Pontecorvo   Seattle, WA
On the second pitch, there is currently a purple c4 with a biner above the bulge, buried in a crack. It was about 35 degrees out, so I was trying not to get the barfies - I didn't try for long - but a good angler could get it out with two nut tools and a bit of effort. Quality route, so happy to have gotten on it! Jan 16, 2016
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
Two fixed nuts and a pin on the crux dihedral, slung block with mangy tat on the roof pitch. Will try to clean up that block next time I'm up there.

So much fun. Jun 30, 2016
Amos Whiting
Basalt, Colorado
Amos Whiting   Basalt, Colorado
I was almost killed on this route by rock fall in ''99. It took me 17 years to return, only to find loose blocks on the last pitch leaving the ledge. Also, most importantly, the huge death flake in the roof is just that, a DEATH FLAKE. This route is toted as one of the safer 5.11s in the park. It is just a matter of time before someone pulls or kicks the giant flake off into their chest, cleaning out the scores of people below. Not recommended. Oct 3, 2016
Eliot Augusto
Boulder, CO
Eliot Augusto   Boulder, CO
3/18/17 - fixed pin still there. There is a fixed nut above the pin. There is also a fixed pin on the small ledge after leaving the belay on pitch 3.

Combine the fixed gear with a blue/purple TCU, and this crux sews up very nicely. A most amazing climb. We had the route to ourselves in Eldo on a Saturday. Mar 18, 2017
Hi everyone! I forgot my camera in the Vertigo ledge on Saturday October 7. If you found it, I would really appreaciate to contact me. Thank you, Javier Oct 9, 2017
Justin Skaare   CO
Reiterating some key beta: on the final pitch, don't place gear @ or just above the lip, or back clean the gear if you do. If you place an unextended #1 or #2 in a crack to the right of the easy v-slotted chimney that finishes the pitch, it will prevent the rope from getting snagged in the crack, and you can belay from a comfortable position at the back of the chimney before the downclimb. Dec 11, 2017
Kate K  
Dropped a tiny yellow #2 nut onto one of the nice comfy ledges before the first 5.9 bulge, first pitch. If anyone finds it, pm me please!

Completed this route on a beautiful Saturday, 5/22/18. My partner and I got there first around 7am, linked the first two pitches (totally doable and fun), and each took one of the 5.11 pitches. The dihedral is harder for sure, footwork intensive off the bat! Roof pitch, which I led, was like climbing out of the bouldering cave at the gym. Great jugs and great handjams.

We let two guy pass - Chris and Dan? - and they gave us the beta for the last pitch so you don't get your rope stuck: once you pull that move over the lip, build your anchor there, and belay the follower up through the roof sequence. Once they reach you, flip them to lead belay, and let them continue through the giant V-slot, and then hip belay you out of there. Or whatever your comfy with - it's easy at that point. This also allows you to hang on your anchor over the roof and watch them climb it, talk to them, and enjoy the exposure!

The rappel anchors are on the west face of the notch between the summit and the path up to tower two walls. If you downclimb from the V-slot, you'll have to go back west over the low angle rock or the dirt trail behind the closest tree to the Vertigo summit.

Chris and Dan - we got great photos of you, guys! Message me if you want em. -Kate (and Mikaela) Jun 1, 2018